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As a summer assignment my class was assigned to read the book A Separate Peace by John Knowles. The book follows the main character Gene Forrester and some of his friends through life at school, the transition into adulthood and how World War 2 was affecting their daily lives. The story covers all the school issues and teenage problems any teenager can relate to at some point. Such as, while Gene tries to improve his grades his friend Finny invests in making him more interested in sports.
Although, this soon leads to a conflict where Gene feels that Finny is intentionally wreck his educational career. While on a tree limb with Gene Finny ends up breaking his leg which then makes Gene feel guilty. After Finny recovers he helps Gene compete in the Olympics. When someone accuses Gene of intentionally breaking Finny’s leg he then storms away and unfortunately falls down a set of stairs and winds up breaking his leg for the second time resulting in more surgery which then lead to complications and finally his death.
Gene was left to live life without his friend.
A Separate Peace definitely felt as though it was so long when ironically it is a shorter book. It started out very slow, immensely foreshadowed, and gave the reader clues for them to remember and to later make connections. John Knowles did this over and over again through the whole book so that the reader could figure it out. The middle of the book felt dragged out while towards the end of the book it felt like the author was trying to rush to finish.
The books characters seemed like they could be realistic and they were very easy to relate to because of their characteristics and the fact that the characters and me as the reader are close in age. This book was very hard to get into which makes it a bit less popular than it should be. It is a very reflective book thinking about the meaning of life. This book was obviously not a great fit for me because I am drawn to the books that have happy endings and clearly this book was far from that. Throughout the book the reader in a way connects with the characters making it a very sad ending to read. Although, A Separate Peace did have a strong educational content. John Knowles was able to fill the content of the book with diversity and many places for discussion. Taking this all into account, A Separate Peace by John Knowles is a decent read and provides plenty of room for discussion between readers with alternative opinions on the book.
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